More menu options needed in Chick-fil-A fray

If resolving disputes were as simple as eating – or not eating – a spicy chicken sandwich, we could take all our disagreements to the food court.

But in the real world, the prospect of breaking bread with adversaries loses its luster in light of the ferocity emanating from what newspaper columnists/bloggers typically call “both sides.”

The journalistic oversimplification echoes in many of the reactions to my recent column touching on l’affaire Chick-fil-A.

So the Burlington County, NJ innkeeper whose singularly ill-chosen remarks about gays, AIDS and same-sex marriage caused controversy earlier this week is either a heroine, or a hater.

And those who, like me, dare to criticize what she says are criticized for supposedly seeking to stifle anyone who dares disagree with our purported agenda. Even as we (ok, I) reflexively dismiss much of the criticism as purely the product of fanaticism, or worse.

Just as those who patronized the chain's restaurants Wednesday were exercising their rights, so were participants in the gay Chick-fil-A "kiss-in" Friday. Eating fast-food does not make a person a homophobe, and more than not eating it renders somone anti-Christian.

As an email I got from a reader who didn’t much like my column advised: Take a breath, people.

Which is also why I like the approach taken by the indefatigable Steve Goldstein of Garden State Equality, who urged members and supporters to seek a dialogue with Chick-fil-A managers in New Jersey Friday.

"We want everyone to see the love and commitment of families with LGBT people – indeed, to see all people as real people," Goldstein said.

"That, we believe, is the basis of winning equality everywhere."